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Puerto Rico in Total Darkness; President Trump's Poll Slightly Up After Hurricane Message; Facebook CEO Turning 180. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 21, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Breaking news on major stories around the world.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.
Hurricane Maria is not finished with Puerto Rico yet. Inundated by rains that are described as Harvey-like. President Trump planning to visit the island and saying this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Puerto Rico was absolutely obliterated. Puerto Rico got hit with winds they say they've never seen winds like this anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The President Trump's approval rating inching back up to 40 percent in our new poll helped by his handling of hurricane relief. But his rocket man speech this week on North Korea has not gone unnoticed by Kim Jong-un who threatened tonight that Trump will, his words, "pay dearly for his speech."
The country's foreign minister warning that could mean an H bomb test in the Pacific. The threat comes after the president slapped new sanctions on North Korea today.
And in Washington, the battle over healthcare turning into a face-off between Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Bill Cassidy. Kimmel is winning. But with more and more Americans worried about what will happen to their healthcare, will it all come down to how John McCain volts?
Plus, Sean Spicer's redemption tour. Hitting a bump in the road as a former press secretary sets off a firestorm saying he never knowingly lied from the White House podium.
Really? Really? Really? Let's get to serious business. So, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Nick Paton Walsh is for us in Puerto Rico this evening. Nick, hurricane Maria has taken a terrible toll in Puerto Rico. There is catastrophic flooding after 30 inches of rain fell in 24 hours and the entire island is without power. What is the situation like now on the ground? NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I should
tell you that we just heard that President Trump has spoken to his counterparts, the governor of Puerto Rico and also Dominica as well. We're not clear what was said but we do know earlier on today he described what has occurred here as an absolute obliteration.
I have to say in a rhetorical as it is, it's fair in terms of describing the sheer of volume of damage that's seen both here in the capital of San Juan and across this territory of the United States, as this report will show.
Thirty hours on and this is what Maria's embrace of Puerto Rico has left. This was not a world built on water, but it's become that. Waves in the roads, wet feet and slow moving the new normal.
The drive from where we saw Maria make landfall in the east to the capital San Juan along highway three is a testament to how vicious and thorough nature was in setting life back here.
Paradise lost for years likely. Hold close what you still have. An eternity of downed power cables, explaining why it may take six months to restore power. They took hope too. Even the windstorm cleaned off the wind turbines.
Communities shredded entirely. And as we approach San Juan, the roads turn into rivers, forcing many to turn back. People are trying to get back to normal here, but really everything has changed.
No electricity for months ahead means changes in jobs, schooling, healthcare. A whole new way of life potentially this island has to get used to.
Even the bright paint of La Perla cannot hide the misery Maria brought. Its name means the pearl where a Despacito's music video was shot bringing recent fame, but now everything bar concrete is damaged in the resilient whole fishing village.
It is hardest to come back when you have little in the first place. Roberto hopes the Trump promise of aid will bring his old world back.
It's incredible," he says, "by the cliff, but I believe in God and we can do anything with the help of God."
Water brought this fishing village life but also destruction. They will have to hope it becomes their friend again in the months ahead.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Puerto Rico.
WALSH: That gentleman with the wheelbarrow early on was saying simply we are alive, we are alive. And I think the sense of that here in central San Juan people coming out open mouth at times looking at the devastation remarkable to them in fact, but it hasn't had more of an impact on their sense of mortality, but there's a very uphill task ahead of them, Don.
This is a territory without electricity most likely for the next four to six months. Just imagine how that would transform your daily life, your employment, your health care, education for those who you know, people haven't been able with the absence of cell phone networks to find out how their loved ones are.
[22:05:07] A huge change in basic daily living circumstances here in Puerto Rico coupled with the fear it may be sustained rather than short term. This infrastructure here has taken an enormous hit. Don?
LEMON: Let's talk more about that. Let's talk about food and water now. How are they able to survive? How are they dealing with not having enough food and water, Nick?
WALSH: Actually, we're seeing rationing of fresh water coming in, I can say, certainly for the hotel we're in, that's even rationed. We're seeing many of the shops around here experiencing cues for the very few number that are in fact open selling things. That will be become more acute as you move forward.
We're into merely 24 hours here of people lacking food. Remember, this time last night we were just dealing with the sort of getting sort of -- night before last the beginnings of the rains of what we're dealing with right now is the cleanup, the beginning digesting exactly what this means for your own personal refrigerator, your own family's diet moving forward and how much water you have to drink and consume going forward.
So this is an extraordinary thought -- fraught time for very many Puerto Ricans and it does look like it will be sustained going forward. You've got to remember Puerto Rico was in a very bad state before hurricane Irma hit a fortnight ago, $70 billion in debt.
Now after the billion dollars' worth of damage this hurricane Irma, they have an untold amount of devastation to clean up here. Promises of hope from Washington, but a sense among many Puerto Rican we've spoken to they've got to get on with the job of cleaning up themselves. Don?
LEMON: Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, thank you. I appreciate your reporting. I want to turn now to Brigadier General Dustin Shultz. He's on the phone -- she is on the phone. She's commander of the first mission support command on Puerto Rico. Thank you so much for joining us, general. How many U.S. servicemen and women are there on Puerto Rico and what are the conditions like?
DUSTIN SHULTZ, COMMANDING GENERAL, MISSION SUPPORT COMMAND: Well, right now we have 4,500 soldiers in the United States Army Reserve on Puerto Rico. That does not include the Puerto Rican Army National Guard as well and we're standing prepared to support. We're already doing some immediate response missions under the immediate response authority and the dual status commander Colonel Cruz, to assist them and to assist the civil authorities in making sure that we respond to the needs of the Puerto Rican people in this devastation. LEMON: You know, general, the governor said much of the island's
infrastructure has been destroyed. Have you been able to survey the damage?
SHULTZ: I have been able to survey some of the damage, and the reality is the damage will not be known for months in its entirety and until we can really get about and see all the different levels of damage.
You're talking massive destruction of all the foliage has been ripped off the trees. The -- many of the trees have absolutely fallen completely and destroyed property along with a lot of the flying debris that has hit buildings and cars and vehicles.
And as the previous commentator stated, the communications are virtually nonexistent throughout the island right now. San Juan and the San Juan area has some coms and cell phone coverage, but besides that it's really minimal. We had flood levels that were 20 feet above anything that people had ever seen before.
LEMON: Who is leading and coordinating the disaster response?
SHULTZ: Well, leading and coordinating the disaster response, of course, is Governor Rossello and FEMA and the dual status commander, Colonel Cruz. And then America's army reserve, which I leave on -- lead on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico stands ready to support and is already conducting things like water and bath missions to some of the displaced citizens originally from Saint Thomas and some of the other U.S. Virgin Islands that were being housed in the convention center. And we are also providing other services as they require of us.
LEMON: What is the biggest need at this point?
SHULTZ: The biggest need is obviously to get the ports and the airports open again. I've been told that it is likely that at least for possibly military and supports travel to airport might be open tomorrow, but to get that so we can get those open, the fuel pumping back into the island with the goods and services that are needed to make sure that people have basic necessities met across the island.
LEMON: We thank you very much. Brigadier General Dustin Shultz. Thank you so much.
Now I want to turn to President Trump's handling of the response to these monster hurricanes. It seems to be helping his approval rating.
[22:10:03] Chris Cillizza, CNN politics editor at large joins me now. Hi, Chris. How are you?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN: Hi, Don. Good. How are you?
LEMON: I'm great. Let's talk about this new poll that's out.
CILLIZZA: Sure. LEMON: This is a CNN poll by the way. It shows the president's approval rating inching back up to 40 people while 55 percent disapprove. The new numbers in good measure because of his handling of the hurricanes. Sixty four percent approved of his handling of the recent storms. Should the president take a lesson from that?
CILLIZZA: Yes. I would say, Don, you look at our poll, there's a significant blueprint that exists there, which is competent handling in moments like this, which we all hope don't happen all that often. But there's no question people look to a president. We rarely have two back to back hurricanes like these affecting the country, but we do look to a president in moments like this.
Trump has used his Twitter feed honestly relatively effectively as it relates to the two hurricanes to try to make sure people know he's on top of it, spread information, and necessary information. So I think that's one piece of it.
There's another piece in there, Don, on the economy that people are more optimistic about the economy. So whether you can argue a lot of the economy is perception versus reality, but people are feeling better. He would do well to focus a lot on jobs and the economy and a lot less on some of the things he tends to focus on, but just because there's a successful blueprint in our poll does not mean he will follow it.
LEMON: OK. So let's talk about the Mueller investigation.
LEMON: At the same time the Mueller investigation is pressing on. Today Facebook CEO, Facebook's CEO announced he's going to turn over 3,000 ads that were linked to Russian troll farms to Congress. I want you to listen to Mark Zuckerberg, how he explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: We've been investigating this for many months now, and for a while we had found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russian -- linked to Russia running ads. When we recently uncovered this activity, we provided that information to the special counsel. We also briefed Congress. And this morning, I directed our team to provide the ads we found to Congress as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So pretty big change, change of tune for Facebook. I mean, why the turnabout?
CILLIZZA: Well, I mean, I think because they realized, Don, that given the pervasiveness of Facebook in our culture, that they can't just say, hey, we're just the pass through. That's no longer acceptable, that they are -- they are becoming, already are a major player in things like this.
I think this in some ways is a wakeup call for political reporters, for people who cover this stuff, for people who watch this stuff closely. Social media is everywhere. We don't go anywhere without one of these, right. You walk down the street and everybody is staring at it.
That is going to be in the future the best way to spread information, as I think it probably already is, but also and we're learning more about this, to spread misinformation.
CILLIZZA: Purposely a lot of times. And I think we are because a lot of us -- I'll put myself in this category. Because a lot of us don't know enough about the tech and how you do these things, I think we stay away from it a little bit. But I think this is going to be the tip of the iceberg, both in relation to how this Russian troll farm tried to use Facebook and used Facebook to target ads but also more broadly into how social media is being used in campaigns...
LEMON: Do you think we're going to learn that?
CILLIZZA: ... without -- I don't know. I don't know the extent that -- I think we're already learning more than we knew before, but the fact that it's on this timeline, I mean, look, the election ended in November 2016. It's now September 2017 and Facebook is saying, yes, there were these 3,000 ads that got run.
So, I don't, honestly I don't know the answer to that, but what I do think is, it is the tip of the iceberg. Maybe not in relation to this Russia investigation don't know the extent of it, but in terms of politics broadly in campaigns, Don, stuff is not going to go away. I think it's only going to get more and more common, more and more pervasive and more and more difficult, I think, to be able to distinguish fake from real. And that's the real danger.
LEMON: And they have a responsibility to...
LEMON: ... to help handle that. And also even in their comment section, I mean, many people feel like, you know, Facebook not only through fake news but through their comment section is giving a platform to bigotry and hatred and bullying, speaking of the first lady's speech because people can go in there and just say whatever they want. And you know, they think Facebook should also do something about that as well.
CILLIZZA: Well, that's the thing. When you become as big as Facebook has become, right, and as sort of ubiquitous as Facebook has become, it's like anything else. You get -- you get that big, responsibility comes with it. And I think this is a step until recognizing, OK, we can't simply just say well, we don't know. We don't control that. That's automated.
That's not good enough given what we're talking about here, which is a Russian -- a foreign power, right, a foreign country actively seeking to interfere in that levels we're not totally sure at yet, but you interfere in an American election, and not just any election, the presidential election.
[22:15:01] LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Chris Cillizza.
CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.
LEMON: Great conversation. I like the matching glasses too.
CILLIZZA: I do what I can.
LEMON: Thank you. When we come back, we're going to dig deeper into those Russia-linked Facebook ads. We're going to ask a member of the House intelligence committee what they're learning.
LEMON: We learned tonight that Facebook will share more than 3,000 ads it sold to Russian linked accounts with the House and Senate intelligence committees in a matter of days.
Joining me now, Congressman Mike Quigley of the House intelligence committee. Good evening, Congressman. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with the Russia investigation today.
Facebook announcing that they are going to turn over information, all information on the 3,000 ads purchased by Russian linked groups to House and Senate investigators. What do you expect to learn from them?
MIKE QUIGLEY, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Well, a little bit more about how the Russians have operated, how they've used social media platforms, probably not just Facebook, to attempt to influence the democratic process.
QUIGLEY: What were their messages, what else can we glean from their attempts to do this so that we can see how they're messaging and who they're targeting.
LEMON: Well, people are going to want to know whether they saw ads that came from these Russian accounts. Will they be released to the public?
[22:19:57] QUIGLEY: I simply don't know yet. We just heard that this is -- I don't know what Facebook's agreement is, but I assume that they will be released to the public. Frankly, they should be.
What we need here is far greater transparency and accountability. I think it's quite possible that there are still similar ads like this on social media, on one of these platforms.
LEMON: Yes. You know, one of the main questions for you and other congressional investigators has been how do the Russians know where to target these ads and who to target? I mean, will you be able to deduce from the ads whether the Russians had help with that?
QUIGLEY: I think it will be one element toward that end. It is a key part of our investigation to find out if there was cooperation toward targeting. It is extraordinarily complicated, nuanced, but I do think the beginning of this communication helps us as well. I think it's almost as important to know what they're likely to do in the future. I think this will also give us some tips as to how their playbook will operate.
LEMON: You know, congressman, we learned from CNN sources and the New York Times is reporting also that Robert Mueller has asked the White House for all documents related to the firing of Michael Flynn and James Comey, the meeting the president had with Russians in the Oval Office and the president part in responding to news about the June 2016 meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a whole host of Russians. What's Mueller after, do you think?
QUIGLEY: I think what it represents is the fact that Mr. Mueller is doing a great job. Apparently not leaving any stone unturned. It's hard to comment on a particular action and what it means. I do think it's comprehensive, and they're getting to the point -- they're trying to find out exactly what the American public has a right to know. What exactly is the...
LEMON: So you don't think that he's -- you don't think he's zeroing in, pardon me, pardon the interruption there, zeroing in on anything specifically as it relates to, you know, these different accounts to Manafort and Comey and Donald Trump, Jr.?
QUIGLEY: No. These are all people that need to cooperate. These are all people that we are very interested in talking to. We expect their cooperation. When there is no cooperation, I believe subpoenas are in order.
To pinpoint any one element of the Mueller investigation and say that that's what they're focusing on I think may be in error. I do think this is a widespread investigation because it's a complicated, layered investigation that is international in scope. And it's probably going to take an extraordinarily length of time as well.
So I don't know that any one day or any one element of what he's investigating is an indication to a larger goal. I do think that they're taking this in a broad approach.
LEMON: Representative, quickly, CNN is reporting that Paul Manafort has been wire-tapped by investigators before and after the election. Can you say if information from that surveillance has been shared with House intelligence -- the House intelligence committee? QUIGLEY: I can't share that information. I can tell you that we're
very interested in Mr. Manafort's testimony. I can also remind your viewers that in order to get the wire taps that are talked about in general, there is a very high standard in which a judge has to be persuaded about the amount of evidence involved. So I think it's a good indication that the investigation is going forward and there are real concerns about what we're going to find.
LEMON: So I'm not asking you specifically about the information but whether or not that has been shared, that particular reporting from CNN about the wiretapping. Has it been shared with the House intelligence committee?
QUIGLEY: Yes. Again, sorry, that's not something I can share with your viewers at this point.
LEMON: OK. Fair enough. So, listen, Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the FBI if it ever warned candidate Donald Trump about Paul Manafort and if not, why? Do you have any thoughts on that?
QUIGLEY: Yes. It's really an investigation of the investigation. I think it's absolutely fascinating to find out, as we go forward, what exactly took place as the campaign went forward, how did the intelligence community react, what was their role and who were they talking to. That part of the investigation may take as long and be as nuanced and complicated as everything else we're trying to find out.
LEMON: Isn't there some danger there in alerting, though, someone about an open or just an investigation into a private citizen if they had one and there would have been some danger that they were somehow, for lack of a better term, unmasking a private citizen's information or revealing information on an investigation for a private citizen -- of a private citizen?
QUIGLEY: If we're just speaking hypothetically, I think there are circumstances that one could imagine in which they'd want to alert one of the two candidates for president of the United States.
[22:25:02] Again, just speaking hypothetically from a counterintelligence, counter information point of view, just so they understand what's taking place. So I don't think that part of it is unprecedented. I can't comment as to how it might relate to candidate Trump and any one of the people working with him.
LEMON: Manafort's spokesman said today that Manafort thinks all the scrutiny of him is entirely politically motivated and that he was cooperating until the FBI raided his Virginia home with a no knock warrant, confiscated his belongings and searched him and his wife. Has Manafort been cooperating fully?
QUIGLEY: I'm looking forward to Mr. Manafort's testimony before the House. If indeed everything he says is accurate, then he should start cooperating more fully. Come talk to us, tell us exactly what took place. We'd be delighted to find out.
LEMON: There's also... (CROSSTALK)
QUIGLEY: That's true for the entire Trump campaign and the current administration. This would have gone a lot easier if the president had said to his staff and his campaign workers we're going to fully cooperate. We're not going to call this a witch-hunt.
LEMON: Yes. And what about Sean Spicer and these copious notes that reportedly he kept in his notebook? Are you expecting him to testify? Will you pursue these notebooks?
QUIGLEY: You know, he's obviously someone we'd love to talk to. It's relatively new because he departed just a short while ago, but it was interesting watching Mr. Spicer doing this whole process, what exactly did he know, and he certainly deserved combat pay during his tenure at the White House.
LEMON: Well stated. Thank you, Representative Quigley. I appreciate it.
QUIGLEY: Sure. Anytime.
LEMON: And when we come back, the battle over healthcare just might come down to John McCain again. Will the senator support one of his closest friends or defy his party and the president and vote down this last ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare?
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Republicans in Congress racing a deadline to pass Graham-Cassidy, the latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. Next week is their last chance to pass the bill with only 50 votes. So that means they need just about every republican vote. And the big question among GOP leaders what will John McCain do.
Here is Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles.
RYAN NOBLES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Late night high stakes drama when Arizona Senator John McCain took a surprising stand, defying his party and voting down a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
And now Senator McCain is facing a difficult choice. Support one of his closest friends, Lindsey Graham and the Graham-Cassidy bill or remain steadfast in his commitment for regular order and review.
And with a deadline fast approaching that would likely end the republican effort once again, for McCain the choice is between his friendship and his legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I am looking at it very carefully, the provisions, how it affects Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: McCain's decision on healthcare comes at a pivotal time. Not only on the legislative calendar, but at the stage of his remarkable life. The senator, war hero, candidate for president and long-time maverick is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer and is aware he might not have many battles like this left to fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I'm not trying to paint this as a rosy picture. This is a very virulent form of cancer. It has to be fought against.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: The senator himself isn't afraid of fighting on the Senate floor either. In July, warning his colleagues that he wasn't happy with the bill, and the rush for passage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Let's trust each other. Let's return to regular order. We've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: The difference this time is that one of McCain's closest friends on Capitol Hill is leading the effort. It's a friendship that has spanned decades. The three amigos, Graham, Joe Lieberman, and McCain seen here out for a hike after McCain's first round of chemotherapy. Senator Graham emotional when McCain's diagnosis became public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: No more, 'whoa is me, Lindsey.' He is yelling at me to buck up. So I'm going to buck up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: The White House is hoping Graham can secure McCain's support. Even he is offering in guarantees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: You can have different opinions about the quality of this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Those close to McCain say that Graham's persuasion will only go so far. It will ultimately be his decision to make. McCain said he's still carefully considering the bill and its impact on Arizona.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: The process I still am deeply disturbed about. We should go through a committee like -- we're going to vote on the defense bill right now and it will be 80 some. That's because we went through months of hearings, of mark ups, of debate, a whole week on the floor. That's what we should be doing with healthcare and we're not doing it. Just like the democrats didn't do it in '09.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: But just like July, McCain refuses to tip his hand, which means we may not know whether or not this bill will pass or fail until senators cast their final votes.
And McCain remains very upset about the process, but getting back to the traditional regular order that he so desires will be impossible if this bill is going to be passed by the deadline of next Saturday. When asked if he's talked to Lindsey Graham about this bill, McCain replied on Tuesday that he's talked to him constantly and then he ended, unfortunately. Don, back to you.
LEMON: Ryan Nobles, thank you very much. Why is the GOP racing to go this very unpopular bill through? When we come back, we'll tell you what this all means for you.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Republican leaders in the Senate trying to round up every last GOP vote to pass Graham-Cassidy, the bill to repeal Obamacare. Senator John McCain under pressure to vote yes, but not tipping his hand yet on what he is going to do.
So let's discuss. CNN political commentator Ana Navarro is here. Neera Tanden is here as well, president of the Center for American Progress, she's the former policy director for Hillary Clinton, and CNN political commentator Jason Miller, former Trump senior communications adviser.
OK. So let's have this conversation, guys. Ana, we're glad that you're OK and you're home is OK after these devastating storms. So, do you think Senator Lindsey Graham -- by the way, she lives in Florida. That's why I said that. Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain's close friendship will impact McCain's decision?
ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes and no. You know, I know both John and Lindsey extremely well, and I've seen them interacting for many, many years. Their relationship with them cannot be overstated. It is a friendship that goes beyond friendship. I think it's as close as two people can be and not be related.
They are confidants. They are playful. They are playmates. They joke with each together. They travel together. They really like each other, respect each other, understand each other, support each other. They love each other. The relationship is one of true and absolute friendship, loyalty and love.
[22:39:59] But at the same time I can tell you they respect each other. I have seen them differ on issues in the past. I've seen John McCain and Lindsey Graham vote differently in the past. And I know that John McCain knows he has got the freedom from his friend to do what he thinks is the right thing for him to do by conscience.
Lindsey Graham is not going to stop loving John McCain or feeling about John McCain the way he does. John McCain has got the entire freedom to make his decision up based on substance, based on policy, based on process, based on the issues that are important to him.
LEMON: What I want to know, though, the big question I think, Jason, is the animosity that President Trump has shown towards McCain. If it hurts his chances of getting the votes he needs on this bill because we all know he hasn't been very kind to John McCain.
JASON MILLER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I don't think that's going to have any impact. I think Ana pointed it out that he's very close with Senator Lindsey Graham and I think ultimately that's going to have a bigger impact than probably anything else.
But look, this is our last chance as republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare. And there is no next opportunity a couple months from now or next year or in two years down the road. This is the opportunity to get it done. So for the past seven years republicans...
LEMON: So why, explain to our viewers why is that? Why is it the last chance? Because most people at home don't see that. They believe that there's no, you know, clock, no time or ticking down to a zero. Explain that. Why do you say it's the last chance?
MILLER: Well, not to get too much into the, I guess legislative inside baseball, but it's a thing called reconciliation where they can go through and pass this with 5o votes or 51 votes. So they need that threshold as opposed to 60.
But look, the reason why this is so important now and why we can't delay it and wait until -- I mean, they could wait until some point further down the road, Obamacare is imploding. It is absolutely failing. We have to spend billions and billions in federal money every year to prop it up because people aren't signing up. And the system is absolutely -- it's tanking.
And so, we have to go and fix this system. think this Graham-Cassidy bill is a very good idea.
LEMON: So, the answer...
MILLER: It gets it out of the hands of the federal government, gets it back to the states...
LEMON: The answer is that after September 30th they will have to get 60 votes and they know that they will never get that. So basically what they're saying is we don't want to work with the other side. We don't want a bipartisan bill. That's what they're saying. And Neera, I know...
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Absolutely.
MILLER: Don, hold on, Don, Don, come on, man. That's...
LEMON: But that's the truth.
TANDEN: That is true.
MILLER: No, it's because...
TANDEN: That's absolutely true.
MILLER: Because democrats want to move to a single payer system.
TANDEN: No. That's false.
MILLER: They want free, they want free healthcare for everybody.
TANDEN: That's not we're all the democrats are.
MILLER: They want a socialized system where we see the direction...
LEMON: OK. Let the democrat explain what they want.
LEMON: And I also saw that you flinched when he said that Obamacare is imploding and I know the facts don't bear that out.
TANDEN: Right. There's a few facts...
LEMON: One reason it is struggling is because of what the president is doing and saying about it and threatening not to fund it. But go on.
TANDEN: So it was the case that Obamacare, there were counties in the country that didn't have healthcare options for them. That's no longer true. Every county has coverage. There are challenges with premiums going up, but that's because of what the president has done.
You know, the idea of we have challenges with Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. So what we're going to do is throw insurance markets into chaos is simply crazy. You know, we could actually get 60 votes. There was a bipartisan plan that was scuttled but led by Lamar Alexander.
I believe it actually could get 60 votes. But Mitch McConnell wanted a partisan vote tried to ram this thing through and just to be clear about this bill, this is the most radical reshaping of the healthcare system, far beyond what the Affordable Care Act even did.
It would destroy Medicaid program that exist. It would take $9 billion from Arizona. You know why I think John McCain is going to do the right thing, because this bill violates everything here...
LEMON: OK. I got to ask you, Ana. Do you want to see your friend vote for this? Do you think this is a good bill?
NAVARRO: I want to see John McCain do what John McCain thinks is the right thing to do. I think he's giving it a lot of thought. I think he's very deliberate about it. I think that he is free to exercise his conscience.
LEMON: Do you think it's a good bill?
NAVARRO: I think it's -- look, I think it's a flawed bill. I think Obamacare is flawed. I think we have no perfect solution right now. And I hope that at some point we get to a compromise, a bipartisan compromise because I'm one that believes that huge national crises like this should not and cannot be solved by one party.
We saw the democrats try it and it is a flawed system. And that flawed system is made even worse and can be made even worse by regulation and by the administration. That is happening.
So it is going to have even more problems because Donald Trump can make it an even worse program. He's always said let it fall of its own weight and then they'll come to the table and deal. I think we need a bipartisan compromise on big, hairy issues like healthcare...
[22:45:01] NAVARRO: ... like immigration. I think we need due process. I think with we need to air these things out. They should not be rammed through. And I will tell you...
LEMON: I've got to go, Ana.
NAVARRO: I'm very glad that Cassidy and Graham are trying, because we can't give up on this issue.
NAVARRO: This is not the perfect solution.
MILLER: It's a great bill. Let's get it passed.
NAVARRO: But we cannot -- no. I'm not saying it's a great bill. MILLER: Let the leadership in the White House. I am. I know. I'm
NAVARRO: I'm saying we can't give keep it up on this issue.
LEMON: I'm out of time, guys. I' m sorry.
TANDEN: Let's have a bipartisan bill.
LEMON: Thank you all. Thank you. Bipartisan would be great. And I think that's what most Americans want. That's what the polls show.
LEMON: Thank you all. When we come back, Kim Jong-un's latest threat tonight against President Trump, calling the president a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard." That word now trending on Merriam Webster tonight, as a result.
Fareed Zakaria I'm going to ask him how seriously we should take this war of words.
LEMON: Breaking news, new threats tonight from Kim Jong-un slamming President Trump's remarks at the U.N. and destroying North Korea -- about destroying North Korea. Kim saying he may respond with what he calls the highest level of hardline countermeasure in history.
Top aides saying that that may mean Kim's considering the strongest H- bomb test yet in the Pacific Ocean. I want to talk about this now with Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. This is very, very serious stuff.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN: It is very serious. It's disturbing that the president, President Trump would take this path because historically what American presidents have done is actually try to tamp down these kind of, these flames.
So when China, for example, was going nuclear, the United States did not respond provocatively. They watched. They waited. You know, the idea was let's see what happens. This is one bomb, one test.
The Trump administration seems to be of two minds, but the president every now and then almost seems like he just gets enraged or irritated and he unleashes this kind of stuff. Now, of course, it's going to produce a result on the other side because, you know, that's their style.
LEMON: Can I read the other side? Because this is the latest war of words just a few hours ago. Kim Jong-un issuing a firing -- a fiery statement here about President Trump.
[22:50:00] Here is how it reads. He says, "He is unfit to hold the prerogative of the supreme command of the country. And he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire," it's just unbelievable, right? "Rather than a politician. I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mental -- the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire."
I said dotard before the break but I guess it's tomato or to-ma-to but same thing. I've never heard -- I've heard of a dolt, I've never heard of a dotard. What do you make, what do you think of this?
ZAKARIA: I mean, forget, for a moment forget the rhetoric which is very colorful. And the Mao era Chinese usually had this kind of crazy rhetoric and we never responded to it. But what it fundamentally means is that he is presenting the situation, Kim Jong-un, to North Koreans as we are in an existential threat. We face an existential threat from an American president who is determined to, you know, to destroy North Korea.
That's what Trump said in his U.N. speech, not, I will get Kim Jong- un. Not that I will decapitate the regime, not that those people who are the leaders of North Korea, but I will destroy North Korea as a country.
LEMON: He said if they keep it up.
ZAKARIA: Right. If they keep it up.
LEMON: If they threaten us.
ZAKARIA: Think of what that sounds like to an ordinary North Korean. The United States and its president wants to destroy the entire country. So guess what, maybe we do need nuclear weapons.
So the whole thing is counterproductive. And it's particularly unfortunate because the Trump administration is actually on a policy front is moving in some intelligent ways in trying to ratchet up sanctions, get the Chinese to do more, the Chinese are now doing more.
You feel as though you've got, you know, I can't help but think you've got Mattis and McMaster and Tillerson sort of trying to get this policy in place and then Trump decides that he -- you know, he has to one-up Kim Jong-un because Trump has to have the most quotable insult of the day.
LEMON: Yes. You were saying that, you know, putting very good policies and sanctions in place except for the person up front who is -- the guys behind the scene are doing a good job but the person up front is saying these things...
ZAKARIA: And he's kind of messing it up because this is... LEMON: Yes.
ZAKARIA: ... this is raising the temperature and what you want is, you know, Theodore Roosevelt's great line, "speak softly and carry a big stick." Instead what Donald Trump is doing is this massive bravado, but we don't have those many military options. And the danger is when Trump says all this stuff, what if three or four months from now it's pretty clear he's not following through on any of it, we're not going to destroy North Korea.
LEMON: He didn't -- he didn't -- fire and fury never.
ZAKARIA: None of it has ever happening -- none of Trump's threats have happened. I mean, think about it. He was going to recognize Taiwan, he was going to call China a currency manipulator, he was going to tear up NAFTA, none of it really has happened.
LEMON: Yes. So, listen, he put more economic pressure on North Korean today -- North Korea, promising to punish any individuals or business that traded with them but cutting off -- by cutting off access to the U.S. financial system or freezing assets. Is that the right move?
ZAKARIA: Yes, you want to do something that tightens the screws. People tend to think that North Korea's the most sanctioned country in the world. It's not. The sanctions that the Obama administration put in place against Iran, for example, were much more extensive because they really got the Chinese and the Russians to agree.
So you've got to try -- we don't have a lot of options here, but you've got to try and see how much more pressure you could put. So one way to do it is to really get the people who are trading with North Korea to understand there's a big price to pay. And the big price America can exact is to say if you deal with them, you can't deal with American banks.
And everybody needs to deal with the American banks because the dollar is the world currency, and the second is to talk to the Chinese seriously. Which the Trump administration, again he started out in the right direction, but then he got frustrated because the chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago didn't do it. These things don't happen in a week or a month. I mean, you have to have a sustained strategic conversation with China.
LEMON: Yes. Let's see what happens. And maybe the rhetoric can be ratcheted back or down, tamped down.
ZAKARIA: Look, I mean, in a sense it's fascinating for us because it allows you to say things like dotard on television.
LEMON: Dotard. Dotard. Tomato or to-ma-to. Thank you. I appreciate it, Fareed.
Up next, a desperate search for survivors after Tuesday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico continues tonight. We're going to go live to the epicenter of this deadly quake.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Rescuers desperately searching for survivors in the earthquake in Mexico, of the earthquake in Mexico. The death toll rising to, at least 273.
CNN's Ivan Watson, live for us in Mexico now. Ivan, good evening to you. You're at the epicenter of the earthquake. What is the extent of the damage? What are you seeing?
IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, as you can see behind me, in this town of Jojutla in Morelo State, you have this situation here where you had a number of adjoining two-storey houses that were all brought down by Tuesday's deadly earthquake.
Fortunately, in this small market town most of the buildings are still standing, but there's a great deal of structural damage, a lot of cracks in these buildings. So people are not staying in their homes in this part of town. The businesses are all shuttered as well because there's the fear of aftershocks that can bring buildings down further.
Moments ago, we saw some government workers coming through and an engineer basically assessing buildings and spray painting on them whether or not they need to be demolished or they are allowed to remain standing.
But the initial shock and fear of the deadly earthquake on Tuesday, Don, I'd say in this community has given way to the next step. So you've got hoards of volunteers really from all over Mexico who are helping, who have helped clean up the streets and are now trying to get rid of kind of debris from some of the collapsed buildings.
You have the army out in the streets. You have police we've seen patrolling after dark here. There's electricity, fortunately, I'm standing below a street lamp here.
And again, just an incredible outpouring of grassroots volunteerism. Like every minute or so volunteers walk past offering me sandwiches and water. And these are people that have come out of the goodness of their heart to try to help a community struck by this deadly earthquake.
LEMON: Ivan, let me ask you, how long did it take you to get there? If you can just briefly describe the extent of the journey of getting there, what it was like.